"Profit potential for alfalfa," will be the concluding presentation at an Alfalfa Workshop, April 28, at the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research Center (FSRC). Alfalfa can profitably fit into many different farming systems, said Kevin Moore, MU extension beef-forage economist. "Alfalfa provides quality nutrition for livestock under a range of alternatives including pasture, hay and silage."
At the workshop, Moore will present budgets for figuring the value of alfalfa. He admits that alfalfa is an expensive crop to establish, sometimes over $200 per acre for cash costs. "This is a significant investment in initial outlay that must be recouped over the life of the stand," Moore said.
Since alfalfa is a perennial crop, stand persistence becomes an important factor in the economics. In a no-ill budget for an alfalfa stand that lasts six years prorated establishment costs are $25.53 per acre. Extending the life to eight years drops that cost to $20.53 per acre. Planting a stand of alfalfa is a commitment to providing intensive management and maintaining adequate fertility.
"Management has a big impact on the optimal economic stand life," Moore said. The payoff comes in the high quality and high value forage.
Other speakers at the daylong conference will cover those management techniques for establishing and using the crop. Pre-registration is required. A $15 fee includes lunch, breaks, and handouts. Details on the program can be obtained by calling (660) 895-5121. Or send a letter to MU FSRC, 21262 Genoa Rd., Linneus, MO 64653. The research center is part of the MU Agricultural Experiment Station. Located in Linn County, it can be reached at the end of Highway FF, north of U.S. Highway 36, just west of Brookfield, Mo. Signs direct the way.